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Permaculture Living The Design Course

Your nine day course held on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula on Kaurna, Ramindjeri and Ngarrindjeri Country, includes all workshops, materials, meals, and field trips. Explore further details below.


BOOKINGS CLOSED (2023 Course Dates: Sep 30 - Oct 2, Oct 14 - 15, Oct 28 - 29, Nov 4 - 5)

Grow your permaculture journey

Deeply embed yourself in permaculture through our Permaculture  Living the Design Course


What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a system we can all use to design and live simple, rewarding  regenerative lives. It’s the creative alternative to what society offers. It combines modern science and acknowledges indigenous wisdoms of working with, rather than against nature.  Underpinning Permaculture are it’s 4 ethics:

  • Care for Earth

  • Care for people

  • Produce and share surplus

  • Reduce consumption

Permaculture can be practiced by anyone irrespective of age, gender, religion, education, culture or wealth and its principles applied to home, health, education, recreation, work, & community.  


“If during my life, I create an environmentally friendly home, grow and share lots of  'good' food, improve the soil and care for nature, including my neighbours (we are all nature), I will have lived a full, creative, interesting life with great satisfaction and freedom.” Jasper Simmons

Why choose Permaculture Willunga?

Permaculture is expressed, explored and applied differently throughout Australia and the world. Permaculture Willunga are collaborative folk of different ages, genders, and experiences and not only do we embrace this diversity and make it available to you, we use the principles of Permaculture to inform our own collaboration and our course facilitation.


You will explore over 30 topics across 45 sessions with lots of hands on practical experience.

What your experience will include:

  • Current and future environmental / social / political contexts

  • Why permaculture

  • Ethics and principles 

  • Gift economies

  • Local markets, LETS & localisation

  • Sustainable housing design

  • Sustainable community design

  • Design for work environments

  • Design for disaster

  • ​Design for personal health and family life

  • Social permaculture

  • Sharing circles

  • Vegetable & herb design and practice

  • Forest gardens / syntrophic agriculture

  • Reading landscape, land capability assessment, site mapping

  • Water management 

  • Soils

  • Self care in the garden

  • ​Harvesting & preparing garden produce

  • Cob building

  • Composting 

  • Vermicompost 

  • Chickens

  • Goats

  • Recycling

  • Upcycling

  • Deep ecology

  • Nature connection

  • Forest bathing

  • Basketry

  • Wood carving

Meet the Facilitators

Over 80 years Permaculture experience

As a collective of six individuals, we have come together with our experience, skills, and knowledge to give you the best hands on permaculture living course

Living & learning during the course

This 9 day intensive design and implementation experience is facilitated across four venues within the Willunga Basin. By including the essentials of permaculture design, as well as opportunities to put these principles into practice, participants develop the knowledge and skills to travel their life’s journey in a deeply considered and for many, inspiring direction.

Hands-on Activities

This course will have a major focus on hands on activities and workshops for you to learn by doing, and enjoy the real life elements of Permaculture. Activities will cover a range of the topics mentioned above and will give you an opportunity to try making fermented foods, weave with plants, build with cob, and much more.

Field Trips and Tours

You will also experience a range of places and visit not only the venues listed below, but other local sanctuaries and sites. These tours are interactive so you can ask questions, and see a plethora of real life examples of Permaculture in practice.

Conceptual learning

Participants will come to terms with the understandings and principles of Permaculture through the use of many and varied practical processes.  These will include discussions, work shopping, individual and group exploration, questioning, personal reflection, sharing circles, role plays and many practical applications. This is definitely not a sit and be talked at experience!

Course Materials

All course materials will be provided to you, primarily in electronic format. However, if you would like anything printed, please let us know in advance or after the session for later use.

Engaging in Learning and Community

This Permaculture experience is for adults from all walks of life, looking to create ”The More Beautiful World our heart knows is possible” (Charles Eisenstein), willing to question themselves and others and willing to seek new ways forward. We acknowledge that everyone brings different knowledge, skills and experiences that can benefit all. We invite you to share the responsibility for your own learning, for example there will be explorations to do at home. You will need to work alone, in small and in large groups and be involved in many practical, hands on activities. 

Your most life changing decisions however, will not necessarily come from what you hear us say, but will emerge from your own journey and contemplations. 

Dates and Times


Respecting work commitments for many, this entire experience will be conducted on weekends and public holidays. 

Culturally, many residents of the Willunga Basin bioregion shop at markets on Saturday mornings. Catering for this we commence later on Saturdays.

Weekend 1

  • Sat 30 Sep: afternoon and evening

  • Sun 1 Oct: morning and afternoon

  • Mon 2 Oct (public holiday): morning and afternoon

Weekend 2

  • Sat 14 Oct: afternoon 

  • Sun 15 Oct: morning and afternoon

Weekend 3

  • Sat 28 Oct: afternoon

  • Sun 29 Oct: morning and afternoon

Weekend 4

  • Sat 4 Nov: afternoon and evening

  • Sun 5 Nov:  morning and afternoon

Places and Venues

During the course you will intimately experience 4 different Permaculture properties, each one with it’s own story to tell. 

Food for thought farms: This is Emily Frahn and Chad Freak’s rural home of 7ha on the outskirts of Willunga. It’s a great example of what can be achieved, in just 2.5 years. Here you will experience native reveg, home produce growing, a chicken co-operative, a retrofitted home, massive shipping container work space, a tiny home an earthship and the beginnings of a vermicompost (worm castings) business.  

Mantilla: Chris Banks’ old 1860s stone home set on a large suburban block in Willunga boasts a large cellar and an award winning kitchen renovation ideal for processing garden produce  and inviting the sun’s winter warmth into the southern side of the home. The home is nestled amongst lawns for grand children, weaving storage and studio spaces, chicken co-operative and productive mixed garden featuring many and varied functional woven installations.

Wander Gather Ponder: A large and expanding suburban block being developed by Jasper Simmons over the last 11 years as a forest garden and permaculture demonstration site.  The retrofitted home and block include a number of cheap alternative accommodation solutions and hosts Open Gardens, permaculture and pottery art exhibitions and workshops, sharing circles and theatre performances in the near future. Examples of repurposed concrete and other materials abound.  Intensive food and firewood production is supported by nitrogen fixing and nutrient accumulating support plants, syntropic agriculture pruning techniques, chicken and duck waste, bio char creation, composting and comprehensive water harvesting.  

Aldinga Folk House:  Explore this strawbale self build home, and small very productive garden. Home features includes reclaimed materials, and a distinct lack of plastic - even the paint is a natural clay paint. The house is a compact lower cost home - although priority was given to a big pantry! The productive garden has an in ground veggie area mimicking market garden systems, plus fruit trees and chooks. The small greenhouse and extended plant propagation zone has a simple DIY home scale self timed irrigation system.  The native garden is an ornamental yet wild space for wildlife. The Folk House is within the Aldinga Arts Eco Village, and we are part of the allotment community garden and goat community group.


Growing, harvesting, processing and sharing food is an integral part of a permaculture lifestyle. To facilitate this experience, participants in small rostered groups, will be involved in produce harvesting, learning meal preparation, and group clean up.

Meals will focus as much as possible on local, seasonal, organic foods and we hope to include in every main meal, some food harvested from the host property.

All meals will include vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.

During full days, the main meal, morning or afternoon teas will be provided. When the program starts late, participants will bring their own lunches for the first session. When days extend from lunchtime into the evening, afternoon tea and the evening meal will be provided.  


Other course information and logistics

For those who want accommodation in or around Willunga on the Fridays, Saturdays or Sunday Oct 1 (long weekend) there are a number of options listed below from the cheapest:

Food for Thought Farms camp sites. For only $10 per night, this includes camp site, camp kitchen, water, drop toilet and power for charging devices.  It is self-catering and the hose is the only shower. Contact Emily (course facilitator)

Mantilla homestay: All the comforts of home including breakfast. There are two rooms, one with a double bed ($60 for two; $40 for one a night), one with a single ($40 a night). Contact Chris (course facilitator)

Aldinga Beach Holiday Park, 111 Cox Road Aldinga Beach SA 5173: Unpowered sites start at $30 per night, cabins at $75 a night. Contact (08) 8556 3444

McLaren Vale Caravan Park, 48 Field Street McLaren Vale, S.A. 5171: Unpowered sites start at $39 per night, cabins start at $145 a night. Contact  (08) 8323 9255 

There are also many and varied B&Bs in the region. 

For accommodation bookings, contact each venue direct.

Grow your permaculture journey

Embed yourself in this deep permaculture journey through the Permaculture Living the Design course

Contact us with any questions

If you have any questions at all please reach out:

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© 2022, Willunga Permaculture collective

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